Talking about our sexual lives in therapy, while challenging for many, can lead to a lot benefit. Sex, sensuality and intimacy are part of our humanity and most recently evolved psychology of social engagement. My training in sexual health has given me an integrated understanding of sexuality as part of the definition of overall health and wellness. I’m a Certified Sex Therapist through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (ASSECT; the accrediting body for sex therapists in the US). In focusing my practice on sexuality and intimacy issues, I hold a therapeutic stance of helpful advisor on intimacy issues with clients rather than an authority on their own unique sexual identity. I’m deeply committed to being an ally with culturally-unsupported peoples including the LGBTQ+, kink and poly communities.
I work with individuals and couples in creating tailored formulations that can capture current issues and maintenance cycles. I see well-delivered sex therapy as aiding in navigation of sexual concerns, shifting focus onto pleasure and away from performance and helping individuals and couples increase their emotion regulation. Depending on what your treatment goals are, we can learn to care for areas of shame, fear and anxiety, and loosen up around inhibition and maladaptive thinking patterns. Common treatment goals in sex therapy often have to do with fostering more satisfying desire, arousal and orgasm (both within ourselves and in our relationships); reducing pain and discomfort during sex; and increasing sexual satisfaction and communication and empowerment.
I’ve found Lori Brotto and Emily Nagoski’s research and writings on the integration of mind and body sexual responsiveness to be particularly illuminating for the modern-day practice of sex therapy. These research findings dovetail nicely with the unified experience that arises from practicing mindfulness. I’ve found this understanding of mindfulness in sex therapy helps people navigate their own emotional, sensual and sexual selves. Shifts in our attention and experience of our bodies can loosen up inherited repertoires of thinking and relating. In practicing as a sex therapist, my long-term training in meditation and attentional techniques helps drive my clinical thinking around interventions. I strive to foster therapy goals that help clients find their own sexual identity enrichment, and enough self-appreciation and regulation to connect to full experience. Learning more about practicing sex therapy has led me to be even more motivated to help more people feel less alone with all of the beautiful complexity of living rich and embodied human lives.